Like a stolen afternoon in bed on a winter weekend, Filthy Rich is indulgent, naughty, luxurious and irresistible. Wendy Holden’s latest book is a slickly executed romp set during a summer in the country. Her eye for the nuances of class, and for the subtle yet primitive behaviour patterns of the English at home, has been honed with her seven previous novels, and here she directs a big cast onto the small stage of a village allotment scheme and puts them through their entertaining, if sometimes predictable, paces.
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'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).
'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.